Darlings! Being a Diva certainly has its perks! I just spent a lovely Saturday and Sunday with sidekick DJ Nevah L8 at the brand spankin’ new Epic Miami Hotel and Residences in downtown Miami. Through a business meeting with my hubby, we were invited to a tour of the property just before the hotel officially opened at Christmas last year. A divine property with no expense spared, La Diva and DJ Nevah L8 were mighty impressed with the tour and amenities of the hotel and then doubly surprised to find a certificate for one free night stay in each of our gift bags! Since it was my birthday, we thought it a perfect time to enjoy our generous pressie and we do so LOVE playing tourist in our own city once in a while!
Devloped by Ugo Columbo and designed by architect Luis Revuelata, this Kimpton Hotel is one of the boutique hotel company’s first newly developed properties in Miami. Like all Kimpton properties, Epic offers personalized, first class service, gorgeously-appointed rooms, high tech business centers (and rooms!) and leads the hospitality industry with it’s ecologically responsible programs like EarthCare.
Situated on Biscayne Boulevard at the mouth of the Miami River, the property offers dramatically vast city, bay and ocean vistas. One is able to reach the hotel by car OR boat! In fact, last time we were there, famed real estate developer Jeffrey Soffer parked his little yacht right out front for all to admire!
Interior designer Cheryl Rowley has drawn upon a palette of ambers, chocolates and caramels to make the rooms and lobby soothing and comforting compared to the cool starkness of many other modern Miami hotels.
The rooms are incredibly well-appointed and comfortable and loaded with amenities such as flat screen tvs, ipod docking stations, personal computer, large balconies, gorgeous linens with down featherbeds and pillows, Villeroy and Boch sinks, a HUGE deep marble bath tub, floors and bath counters….pant, pant, pant!
Darlings, would you like to re-create your comfy stay at the hotel by acquiring a down featherbead and pillows just like the ones you slept on? Pick them up online at the Kimpton style store! Here you can purchase anything from bed linens, luxurious robes, lamps, spa products or even the mattress!
And darlings, after a night in one of Epic’s beds, you just might BUY that mattress, damn the cost! It was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping in. Your head and entire body sinks into the comforting pillows and featherbed yet the mattress was still supportive and firm. After dinner, Nevah L8 called me from the balcony but I could not get up, so comfy was the bed. Eventually, I complied, as treats and champers were calling out to me!
Epic also boasts a spa (Exhale is opening April 09) a restaurant featuring responsibly harvested seafood, two gorgeous infinity pools on the 16th floor, 24 hour room service, pet friendly, etc. etc. and all the lovely amenities you come to expect at any Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons hotels. At Epic, it’s all about the customer service and one is more likely to hear the words “yes, of course” instead of “no, sorry, we don’t do that here.” Darlings, you can read all about the hotel and it’s FABULOUSNESS here!
We’d heard that the hotel’s restaurant, Area 31, used only local fresh seafood sourced from Fishing Area 31, an area dedicated to sustainable development in the Atlantic and south of Miami. So, we made a reservation and were eager to try it. We sat on the outside terrace with a fabulous view of Biscayne Boulevard southbound, the city truly is magical and colorful at night.
The menu offered a number of crudo plates, small plates of grilled fish with a variety of sauces, home-made pastas and larger main portions of grilled fish, chicken and veal. We started the meal with freshly made breads served with a lively sofrito of tomato, garlic, cilantro and olive oil. Afterward, we were surprised with a delightful amuse bouche of corvina bites in a smooth, creamy gazpacho with dollops of fruity olive oil. It was delicious!
Nevah L8 ordered the fried mixed seafood appetizer which included a very lightly battered calamari, rock shrimp and anonymous white fish pieces as well as the surprising battered caper berries and lemon slices! The combo was fantastic!
For his main, he went with a spicy crab ragu served on a home made egg ribbon pasta. The pasta texture was delicate but I didn’t care for the sauce, it tasted just like the sofrito with some kind of smoky chile added. I thought the smoky flavor overpowered any flavor of the crab and I could have been eating the “anonymous white fish” for all I knew!
I started off with three cold water oysters from somewhere up northeast (I can’t remember where!) that was topped with a typical mignonette and also the not-so-typical spicy “alligator pepper.” The oysters were excellent but I was hoping to get more than three yet didn’t feel compelled to double the order and price to $18 for a HALF dozen oysters.
For my main, I ordered the grilled wahoo with forest mushrooms and olives. For a side, I ignored the waiter’s suggestion to try the polenta (seeing as I just made polenta the other night) and instead got the mushroom risotto. I was disappointed. First of all, from the mushy texture of the risotto, I thought the kitchen took a shortcut and made it ahead of time so the rice steamed and was no longer al dente. Like over-cooked pasta, La Diva does not like a mushy risotto. The flavors were subtle but I would have liked a more pronounced flavor of mushroom and cheese. Ok, I’ll admit it, the dish was pretty bland. Why is there no SALT on the table?!
As for the wahoo, it was overcooked, making the meaty fish tough and dry. Wah! I know I should have sent it back…but I was too hungry to complain. I wish I would have. Fish like that should be cooked so it’s succulent and not needing a knife to cut. But, I didn’t and the only way I got any moisture in my mouth was to pair it with the mushy rice.
We ended up finishing our drinks at the bar and took a candy sampler for dessert back up to our room. With doubles of tiny key lime shortbread, meringue kisses, chocolate truffles, nougat and caramel, we enjoyed the sweets with some champagne on the balcony as we relished the sparkling lights of Brickell Key and Miami Beach off in the distance.
While I was less than thrilled about the food, the service throughout the night and in fact, through our entire stay was impeccable. From the restaurant manager, the bartender, waiter, valet, hostess, porters, front desk staff, EVERYONE went out of their way to be friendly, polite and accommodating! (Who says you can’t get good service in Miami?!)
Would we go to Epic again, darlings? In a heartbeat. It was fantastic, fabulous and DIVINE and in time, will only improve with the new lobby bar and spa opening. If you are looking for a ultra modern luxe hotel with top service and amenities, call the front desk and book as I’ve heard there are a number of special deals to entice new business!
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Originally posted 2009-03-02 00:59:00.